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MG HS line-up to expand in 2020
MG set to offer flagship variant, more powerful AWD and PHEV for new HS mid-size SUV
21 Nov 2019
MG MOTOR Australia has confirmed it intends to expand its all-important new HS mid-size SUV range to include a new flagship variant and higher-powered 2.0-litre turbocharged all-wheel-drive versions, while a plug-in hybrid variant is also under evaluation.
Speaking to GoAuto in Sydney this week at the launch of the all-new HS, which kicks off with a 124kW/250Nm 1.5-litre turbo-petrol engine driving the front wheels, MG Motor Australia marketing and product director Danny Lenartic said the reason for the delay with the 2.0-litre/AWD pairing was due to right-hand-drive production favouring smaller-engined front-drive models first, in line with expected demand in larger-volume markets like the UK.
“We understand Australia’s insatiable appetite for all-wheel drive – that’s not lost on us – so the evaluation is definitely under way but obviously we’ve got to look at what the demands are globally as well, to make sure that we’re in line with product rollout for everybody,” he said.
In left-hand-drive form, the AWD HS powered by a 2.0-litre direct-injection turbo-petrol four-cylinder that produces 170kW of power at 5300rpm and 370Nm of torque from 2000-4000rpm – a 46kW/120Nm increase over the front-drive 1.5.
Available only with a six-speed dual-clutch transmission, MG says the AWD 2.0-litre is capable of 0-100km/h in 7.5 seconds (2.4 seconds quicker than the 1.5), a top speed of 210km/h, and 8.2-8.6L/100km on to the Chinese-market combined-cycle fuel consumption test.
Mr Lenartic also revealed that MG intends to stagger the release of newer HS variants in Australia.
“I think it’s common practice to not necessarily launch with the entire suite – (there will be) more stories over time,” he said.
“The other thing it allows us to do is to evaluate the desire as well, and then be able to create what’s more in tune with market demand … (but) the plan is to have a higher-specced car coming in next year which will follow our tiered structure.”
Called ‘Exclusive’ in other markets, the range-topping HS focuses on additional equipment such as a panoramic sunroof, heated electric sports seats up front, and leather upholstery, and is offered with both the 1.5- and 2.0-litre engine.
The current launch range comprises the sharply priced Vibe from $29,990 (plus on-road costs) and the Excite, which sits $3000 further upstream.
Among other HS variants currently being developed by MG is a plug-in hybrid model.
“It’s under evaluation (for Australia),” said Mr Lenartic. “At the moment, with the industry moving so quickly, it would be remiss of us to say no.
“I think now, as a business, we’re always looking at every car. We’re not just looking at an ICE (internal combustion engine) – we’re looking at all variants going, ‘Well, what’s the desire? Is there a need?’
“Every time we look at a new product now, that’s on the list.”
MG’s two-model HS line-up launched in Australia this week, competing in the most fiercely contested category in the country – mid-sized SUVs.
The HS’s predecessor – the slightly smaller SUV called GS that launched here in September 2016 – struggled to make an impact in a class that includes the Mazda CX-5 (21,976 sales year-to-date), Toyota RAV4 (19,732 YTD) and Nissan X-Trail (16,312 YTD).
To the end of October, the MG GS had achieved just 314 sales in 2019.
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